Many of us have, or may have had, aspirations to go away to college. But, for a large number of people, that option is not always practical for a variety of reasons.
The costs of going to college with student loans, fees and general living expenses can be prohibitive for some, while for others, it is more a case of family commitments or existing responsibilities getting in the way.
However, for those who want to learn new skills, obtain qualifications and enhance their career opportunities with further learning and training, there are many options available that enable people to study from home and continue to lead their lives.
Correspondence courses and online modules are available covering a whole range of qualifications from GCSEs and A-levels through to teaching qualifications, childcare studies, IT or accountancy and management.
There are many providers, so it is worth looking online to see which one suits your needs best but one that is widely recognised is NEC (National Extension College) with its home learning courses.
One of the major advantages of learning from home is that you can schedule your study time around your existing lifestyle commitments and home life.
For people with young families, this means that they can care for their children as they have always done but still take time to study for a qualification. That also similarly applies for those who care for a relative.
Other people may have commitments within the community which mean they cannot go away to college for long periods of time.
In many cases, it is as simple as people studying while they hold down a full-time job because they are the breadwinner within the family and have to work to put food on the table.
However, studying for a new or additional qualification can enhance your career prospects. It means you can train for a job which may even see a complete career change, or gain the additional skills and qualifications which will enable you to move up the career ladder within your existing company.
For those still looking for work, any additional qualification will be a benefit and, at interview, the fact you are prepared to study and work hard to improve your skill set will reflect well in the eyes of a potential employer.
And studying from home does not always have to be a solitary experience as there is usually plenty of opportunity to interact with fellow students or discuss assignments, projects and problems with lecturers and tutors.
With distance learning providers there are also bursary opportunities, offering much-needed financial support.
Once you have achieved your qualification, it may inspire you to go on and study for a higher qualification that could lead to a whole new career – or take you in a direction you never envisaged.